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HR 101 – Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 4

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour and Best Practice requirements.

Although we have walked through some pretty hair-raising examples around this issue, it’s time to bring you some more.

Here’s a nasty – in terms of the “Communications Act”, the employer is responsible for the content/pictures/jokes/articles etc. that the employee writes and sends out. So every time your wannabe office ‘Don Juan’ sends out leery suggestive e-mails to all the female staff in the office, the employer can be held responsible and accountable, should one of those female staff members file charges of ‘sexual harassment’. Yip – that is a fact! The fact of the matter is that it is the employees misuse of the internet and it can cost you, the employer – plenty. Not only in lawsuits but also in the time that they have stolen or the second rate work that they have produced whilst playing on the internet.

Talking about playing on the internet, I have recently discovered “Zoo World” on Facebook and along with my discovery of the game is my discovery that I have an addictive personality. This game has got me by the short and curlies and I find myself playing at every opportunity. Now I am relatively self disciplined and so I find myself getting up earlier or going to bed later, so that I can play – but what of the average employee?

Generally speaking, what employee, addicted to playing computer games, is going to give a damn about the fact that they are stealing time from their employers in order to meet their own needs?

Again proper policies and procedures should be implemented to prevent misuse of both the internet, the company telephones and personal cell phone abuse. Most medium and even some smaller companies now have an effective “Communications Policy” in place. Again there has to be a consequence and again it has to be monitored and managed.

Please remember that this policy should also apply to the number and content of private e-mails that are sent and received through business e-mail addresses, and just because an employee has a ‘yahoo’ or ‘hotmail’ or ‘gmail’ address, that doesn’t mean that is it personal – it just means that the employee is a bit more sneaky about how they use it with your infrastructure.

Next time we will have a look at some more examples of what employees get up to when they are not effectively managed.